Leading Edge Materials Corp. is pleased to provide results from additional spheronisation test work undertaken on graphite from the Woxna graphite mine in Sweden. Woxna is a fully constructed mine, with all processing, waste management and infrastructure in place. During 2017, Woxna was granted an extension of its operating license until 2041.
As previously disclosed (5th July 2018), Leading Edge Materials is undertaking research and development activities to support the design and installation of a Battery Graphite Demonstration Plant at the Woxna mine site. The Demonstration Plant will have the capacity to supply meaningful (100’s of kgs) quantities of lithium ion battery anode material to prospective industrial customers.
To facilitate process, trade off and equipment selection decisions, the Company is presently undertaking comparative spheronising work programs. Latest results are very promising, having demonstrated process repeatability, while providing further insight into product yield and costs. The average yield to anode material achieved in the test program was 57.7%, significantly higher than prior assumptions with further yield gains possible in a future commercial operation.
More than 10 kgs of spheronised material was produced, which will be purified to battery grade and used in lithium ion battery cell testing. As Leading Edge Materials is a member of the EU Battery Alliance, the Company has access to a comprehensive customer network, which is being used to deliver European sourced natural graphite anode material for testing by the emerging European battery industry.
Scanning Electron Microscope imagery of the spheronised product shows grain morphology to be well rounded, smooth and without particle agglomeration, in line with current commercial natural graphite anode products.
In addition, new markets are being sought for the fine by-product material from the spheronising process, including as feed to graphene production under the recently announced (3rd October, 2018) collaboration with Graphmatech AB.
Leading Edge Materials’ market research amongst lithium ion battery manufacturers has shown that product specifications vary substantially in purity, particle size distribution and price expectations. As a result, a high degree of process flexibility will be required to meet customer demands both now and as the European lithium ion battery industry matures. Presently, all natural graphite anode used for lithium ion batteries is sourced from Chinese mines, and supply from the Woxna mine in Sweden will provide European customers with the highest degree of product flexibility, transparency and sustainability.
Blair Way, President and CEO, stated “This spheronising optimization research using commercial equipment has produced excellent graphite grain morphology, in line with similar products that are consumed by the lithium ion battery industry today. This work is providing the bank of data required for design of the Woxna Battery Graphite Demonstration Plant which will allow customer qualification of both our anode manufacturing process and the anode product”.
Test programs are continuing, and further spheronizing and purification results are expected next month.
Source: Leading Edge Materials Corp.